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Music journalist Travis Hay drops some knowledge and insight about local and national music news, offers reviews and offers a place for conversation on all things music.
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REVIEW: My Morning Jacket@ McCaw Hall and Cold War Kids @ The Showbox (part 2)

October 3rd, 2008 by travis hay

Here is the second half of guest blogger (and my occasional +1 at shows) Brent Stecker’s review of our weekend that included an amazing My Morning Jacket show and a solid effort by Cold War Kids the next night. You can read the first part of his review (which covers the MMJ show) by clicking here.

Post show, T-$ (ed. note: in case you didn’t read part 1, T-money is Brent’s oddball nickname for me) took me to Beth’s, a “Seattle institution,” where I enjoyed some fantastic breakfast food and indulged in the $6 Milkshake (ingredients: chocolate, peanut butter, brownies, and the diabeetus). Oh yeah, I got my peanut-butter pudding surprise all right.

The next day, we had plenty of time to kill before Cold War Kids, so Travis and I invented a game where we made up lyrics like we were Craig Finn, lead singer of The Hold Steady. If you’ve never heard The Hold Steady, here’s a crash course on Craig Finn’s style: his lyrics tell outlandish stories about barflies and such, and he mostly yell-talks in a raspy monotone. Here’s some typical Finn lines: “She was a damn good dancer but she wasn’t all that great of a girlfriend”; “They ended up on Washington talking to the river”; and “Big heads with soft bodies make for lousy lovers.”

With the help of Dollar-Dollar’s friend Brian, we came up with some good ones, including “That’s how we found out kangaroos make for lousy housepets.” Just so you know, the joke will never get old.

We headed down to Easy Street Records at 6 p.m. just in time to catch Cold War Kids for three songs of their in-store performance. It was a good way to whet my appetite for more CWK later that night. At the Showbox, we watched about half the set of a completely forgettable singer-songwriter/drummer combo, (ed. note: the opener’s name was Sean Hayes) but we at least got to see the frontguy yell at some dude who shouted”We don’t want to hear you.” His ace comeback? “Then (expletive) go outside.” Can’t really argue with that.

Cold War Kids delivered a hit and miss set, in that it was a hit with me when they played what I knew, and a miss when they played what I didn’t know. Guess that’s my own fault, right? I will own up to just plain not liking some of the new stuff, although “Something Is Not Right With Me” is annoyingly catchy, and a couple other new ones are solid jams.

The worst part of the show was that I realized Cold War Kids are very much a trendy band for the Abercrombie hipster crowd. Nothing really wrong with that, I suppose. It just means that more people are listening to a band I dig, therefore they make more money. Dammit, I was so going to pick on preppie kids, but I just can’t find a reason.

Anyways, “We Used To Vacation,” “Hang Me Up To Dry” and “St. John” were great, especially “St. John,” which is just a great excuse to scream at the top of your lungs and dance like a white boy with a hip-hop complex.

I have to commend the Kids, because they’ve found this great sound that starts with heavy bass and drums flanked by chimey guitars and pianos and random rhythm instruments to keep everything messed up just enough. Add Nathan Willett’s engaging tenor/soprano (I don’t really know, I hope to learn this stuff), and you have yourself a highly entertaining band on the rise.

Brent Stecker is the author of Tiny Strings, an under-construction blog about guitars and guitarists. Samples of the blog can be found by clicking here and here.

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Music journalist Travis Hay drops some knowledge and insight about local and national music news, offers reviews and offers a place for conversation on all things music.